Humble: Free Yourself from the Traps of a Narcissistic World

The Experiment: Workman. Jun. 2022. 632p. ISBN 9781615198573. $26.95. SELF-HELP
In this increasingly self-absorbed era riddled with selfies and vanity, humility is harder than ever to find. Social psychologist Van Tongeren (Hope Coll.) draws from years of graduate and post-graduate research to define what it means to be humble and how this endangered virtue could bring connection and understanding in a divided and narcissistic world. He begins by defining humility, including different ways it is expressed (relationally, intellectually, culturally, and even spiritually). The book then progresses through three parts building on the importance and benefits of recognizing and expressing humility. These include breaking the cycle of seeking external validation and becoming receptive to feedback, even when it’s negative. Van Tongeren shares hundreds of research-backed facts, as well as personal experiences where his own humility was tested. He also touches on humility as it relates to the workplace and intersecting identities such as race, sexual identity, and religion. Finally, he challenges the reader to consider that being humble should not be viewed as a weakness, but instead a form of confidence.
VERDICT Readers looking to better understand interpersonal relationships will learn much from Van Tongeren’s research on humility.
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